A few days ago FCC Chair Julius Genachowski suggested that the administration was seriously considering abandoning the president’s uncompromising pledge to enforce net neutrality. Some suggested at the time that the comments had the vague odor of trial balloon about them. If so, the president found out, quickly and unequivocally, what folks thought. Some reasoned, some entreated, while others of us nard-stomped for all we were worth.
If, in fact, Obama was using Genachowski to test the waters, the conclusion had to be that it’s full of alligators. So today, it looks like the administration might complete the 360:
FCC to Overhaul Regulation of Internet Lines Read more
Dear Mr. Buffet, Mr. Gates, Mr. Turner, Mr. Soros, Ms. Winfrey, and any other hyper-rich types with progressive political leanings:
If this essay has, against all odds, somehow made its way to your desk, please, bear with me. It’s longish, but it winds eventually toward an exceedingly important conclusion. If you’ll give me a few minutes, I’ll do my best to reward your patience.
In the 2008 election, Barack Obama won a landmark political victory on a couple of prominent themes: “hope” and “change.” He has since been afforded ample opportunity to talk about these ideas, having inherited the nastiest economic quagmire in living memory and a Republican minority in Congress that has interpreted November’s results as a mandate to obstruct the public interest even more rabidly than it was doing before. Reactions among those of us who supported Obama have been predictably mixed, but even those who have been critical of his efforts to date are generally united in their hope that his win signaled the end of “movement conservatism” in the US. Read more
A lot of bands have released pretty good debut records, only to follow them up with less-than-spectacular careers. The rule used to be (before the FCC, the recording industry and the radio industry conspired to destroy all music) that you learned what you needed to know about a band with its third album. Given how things worked, you often saw a pattern that looked something like this:
- Debut: Band (or solo artist) has been on the road for awhile, writing and building an audience and developing as a creative and performing force. Read more
Finally, FINALLY we’re starting to treat the RIAA like an organized crime syndicate. Check the latest on a RICO class-action in Missouri, via Slashdot:
“In Atlantic Recording v. Raleigh, an RIAA case pending in St. Louis, Missouri, the defendant has asserted detailed counterclaims against the RIAA for federal RICO violations, fraud, violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, prima facie tort, trespass, and conspiracy. The claims focus on the RIAA’s ‘driftnet’ tactic of suing innocent people, and of demanding extortionate settlements. The RICO ‘predicate acts’ alleged in the 42-page pleading (PDF) are extortion, mail fraud, and wire fraud.
This is a wonderful approach. Read more
Trusting is one thing I don’t know
When it comes to the campaigning men
But I’ll meet you at the election
When I vote for the hope of this land
– Sean Kelly
You may have noticed, if you’ve been paying attention, that the music industry has gone to hell of late. It isn’t that nobody is making good music anymore – on the contrary, there are legions of fantastic bands and artists out there. It’s just that the best ones rarely get played on the radio; the recording industry cranks out nothing but imitation, prefabricated product – the musical equivalent of Cheez-Whiz (Now With Zero Intellectual Calories!); the RIAA – the body that’s allegedly working on behalf of artists – never misses a chance to kneecap young, developing musicians; and if an artist is making a living, it’s probably at a day job and not with his or her music. Read more
Well, here’s a fine howdy-do first thing this morning: an absolutely breathtaking bit of misdirection and pro-monopolist hackery masquerading as a good-faith critique of Bill Moyers.
Moyers’ point seems to be that the opposite of more consolidation is the existence of more stations like this one in Chicago.This is absolutely false and Mr. Moyers should know it.
The opposite of more consolidation is, in fact, more ownership by smaller owners who have exactly the same profit motivation as the larger owners. More of the same, in other words. With a different company name on the letterhead.
Now I know what you’re thinking: Radio companies don’t own the airwaves, we Americans do. And those stations are licensed to serve “in the public interest.” But what could be more in the public interest than content which is interesting to the public? And in Chicago there are 32 examples of this ranked higher than the poster child Moyers chose.
The author is Mark Ramsey, president of Mercury Radio Research, and once you sift through a lot of self-serving rhetoric designed to make him seem more fair-minded on the subject than I suspect he really is, there are a couple of core assertions that we’re expected to accept as wisdom: Read more
Once upon a time in America there was a thing called the “public interest.” The airwaves were a publicly owned resource, and broadcasters profiting from their use were obliged to serve “the public interest, convenience and necessity.” These principles were codified in 1927 and 1934 legislation and were accepted (if not universally loved) for decades. This policy was built on a philosophy that believed public resources existed for something more than the generation of corporate profit, a concept that might strike us as quaint these days. What is there in life but the service of corporate profit, after all?
The idea that there’s more to life than private ownership and profit began unraveling in earnest when Reagan took office and appointed Mark Fowler to head the FCC. In a truly landmark moment, Fowler and Senior Legal Advisor Daniel Brenner co-authored a 1982 paper that “updated” our concept of public interest, stating that the public interest is “what the public is interested in.” And no, I’m not making that up. Read more
Note: This article originally appeared in the Winston-Salem Journal, May 21, 1992: p 32
You may have noticed some changes up and down your radio dial lately. WKZL (FM 107.5), for several years the Triad’s top-rated contemporary hit station, has become 107.5, The Eagle; the new, lighter sound is essentially mainstream Top 40 minus the rap and heavier rock and roll.
And WWMY, which for years bounced from format to format trying to carve out a niche in the Triad’s overcrowded FM market, is now Magic Lite, a softer sister to Adult Contemporary fixture WMAGic 99.5.
Of course, format shifts are nothing new, especially in the Triad, where absolutely everybody agrees that there simply isn’t enough advertising revenue – the lifeblood of commercial broadcasting – to support the number of radio stations. Read more